Friday, January 19, 2024

Why Do We Live in This CRAZY-COLD Place?!

When I was very young I used to wonder, “Why do ‘old people’ all move to Florida after they retire?” Seriously, this was (is?) a phenomenon well-known in the immigrant communities of New York City, where I was born and my parents were born. It seemed like whole neighborhoods of Italians and Jews just transplanted themselves from the Bronx to Fort Lauderdale when people reached a certain age. They brought with them bakeries and restaurants, delis (kosher, of course, with those inimitable all-beef frankfurters), the “New Yawwk” accent, fresh Parmesan cheese (long before it became a popular fad), bagels and lox, and even the Yankees, who did Spring Training in Fort Lauderdale. Why did they all go to South Florida?

Why? Very simple explanation, really. It stays warm in the winter. The snow and frigid temperatures we had this past week were really hard on arthritic bodily joints, hard on the immune system, hard on the whole structure of anyone who has logged up lots of “personal high mileage.”

Florida, though… too humid in the summer. Arizona has dry heat, which is easier on the body. Lots of retirees have been heading to Arizona in more recent generations. There's plenty of inexpensive real estate, the cost-of-living is reasonable, the environment is beautiful, and you've got the freakin' Grand Canyon. I'm sure there are many interesting activities. As the southwest has grown as a retirement hub, baseball teams have built up the “Cactus League” for Spring Training. The thing about Arizona, of course, is that it is an actual DESERT. You really can fry eggs on the roof of your car in the summer. It’s no surprise if the temperature tops 110 degrees, which is just too hot even if there’s no humidity. And [other than the already-noted Grand Canyon] it seems awfully far away from… everything (at least, if you’re an East Coast person). Where’s the beach?

Virginia is not far-enough South to stay warm all year round, but we usually have fairly mild winters. Usually

Not this year, however. This past week, the cold was embellished by snow: only a few inches, but it hasn’t gotten warm enough to melt.

January isn’t going to get any better as we grow older. Hmm…Caribbean Islands are looking really good right now. But who am I kidding? I’m not going to leave this beautiful Valley!

Sun. Snow. Freezing Cold. Shenandoah Valley, January 2024.